Yesterday as I was walking out of my office building, I felt the urge to call Valdosta. I know he had an intense weekend and was going through some things, and the normal me would have typed out a text to see how he was doing. But Operation: Treat Him Mean and Keep Him Keen had been employed. I'm playing aloof.
"Where is Valdosta?" Schmoozer asked Saturday night.
I wiped up the last of the hummus with a pita chip and ate it. "Back home. His mom is getting remarried this weekend." I took a swig of beer, "He won't commit, you know."
"I figured as much when you said you went on a date this afternoon. What are you going to do about it?"
"Operation: Treat Him Mean and Keep Him Keen."
"Ah," he laughed. "The old Cat String Theory."
Schmoozer's buddies looked away from the football game on TV and turned their attentions to our conversation. "Cat String Theory?" one of them asked.
"You know how you dangle a string in front of a kitten and it plays with it for a short bit before getting bored?" The room nodded. "What do you do to get the kitten playing with the string again? You just pull it a a little bit away." He made a tugging motion.
Ah! The Cat String Theory! I like it!
"I like you, Sarah," Schmoozer has told me on multiple occasions, "You date like a guy."
So now it's Wednesday and Operation: Cat String is in full swing. I huffed in the parking lot. This is when it counts, I told myself. He may have not noticed the first couple of days, but the longer without contact, the more he'll start to notice. This is the crucial time point. You cannot cave now.
I got in my car and began my commute home. Only I was so distracted with Operation: Cat String that I didn't take the back roads like I normally do, and instead I merged onto the highway. And because it was rush hour, I came to a complete stop.
I looked at the clock. It was 5:58 p.m. If Valdosta were to call, he'd call at 6 p.m. The couple of times where I had wondered whether he was going to call, he always called at 6. It's when he's off the highway and almost home from work.
Just then, and I swear this is true, my phone rang. "Sweet Child O Mine" played. It was Valdosta's ring.
I debated whether or not to answer the phone, but I picked it up, "Who's this?"
He laughed. "Hey babe."
He said he's had a tough week. His mother got remarried. Work called him in to work over the weekend to make up for our snow days last week and he lost his hockey game.
"How's your week going?" he asked.
I thought about it. "You know, it's going really great. I finished that painting you said you wanted, and I think it turned out really well. That hat I ordered off the Internet arrived and it's the perfect amount of awesomeness and ridiculousness. So are the thigh-high tube socks I bought over the weekend. I got some special recognition at work today and I'm kicking ass at my running program." I've been a little off with Operation: Cat String, but really it's been a pretty awesome week.
"That's great, baby," he said. "I'm glad one of us is having a good week. I was calling to see if you wanted to go out to dinner tomorrow night."
I paused. This is new. Usually when we go out to eat, it's lunch the next day after we've partied together. When we get together during the week, it's usually take out and movies. This was a dinner date.
"Ennnnnnnnhhh," I said, thinking aloud. The thing is, I already accepted a date invite for coffee at 6. "I can," I said slowly, "If we do it later in the evening."
"Okay," he said quickly.
"It'd have to be at like 8."
I smiled. That move wasn't a part of Operation: Cat String. That was just plain, old life.